Famous Men of The Middle Ages, стр. 7

The Vandal king also put to death a number of Roman citizens and carried away many more as slaves. He took Eudoxia and her daughters with him to Carthage . One of the daughters was soon afterwards married to Genseric's eldest son, Hunneric.


Some years after the capture of Rome by Genseric, there was a Roman emperor named Majorian (Ma-jo'-ri-an). He was a good ruler and a brave man. The Vandals still continued to attack and plunder cities in Italy and other countries belonging to Rome , and Majorian resolved to punish them. So he got together a great army and built a fleet of three hundred ships to carry his troops to Carthage .

But he first marched his men across the Alps , through Gaul , and down to the seaport of Carthagena in Spain , where his fleet was stationed. He took this route because he expected to add to his forces as he went along. Before sailing with his army for Carthage he wished very much to see with his own eyes what sort of people the Vandals were and whether they were so powerful at home as was generally believed.

So he dyed his hair and disguised himself in other ways and went to Carthage , pretending that he was a messenger or ambassador from the Roman emperor, coming to talk about peace. Genseric received him with respect and entertained him hospitably, not knowing that he was the Emperor Majorian. Of course peace was not made. The emperor left Carthage after having got as much information as he could.

But Genseric did not wait for the Roman fleet to come to attack him in his capital. When he got word that it was in the Bay of Carthagena , he sailed there with a fleet of his own and in a single day burned or sank nearly all the Roman ships.

After this the Vandals became more than ever the terror of the Mediterranean and all the countries bordering upon it. Every year their ships went round the coasts from Asia Minor to Spain , attacking and plundering cities on their way and carrying off prisoners.

All the efforts of the Romans failed to put a stop to these ravages. The Emperor Leo, who ruled over the eastern division of the Empire, fitted out a great fleet at Constantinople to make another attempt to suppress the pirates. There were more than a thousand ships in this fleet and they carried a hundred thousand men. The command of the expedition was given to Basilicus (Bas-il'-i-cus), the brother of Emperor Leo's wife.

Basilicus sailed with his ships to Africa and landed the army not far from Carthage . Genseric asked for a truce for five days to consider terms of peace, and the truce was granted. But the cunning Vandal was not thinking of peace. He only wanted time to carry out a plan he had made to destroy the Roman fleet.

One dark night, during the truce, he filled the largest of his ships with some of the bravest of his soldiers, and they sailed silently and cautiously in among the Roman ships, towing behind them large boats filled with material that would easily burn.

These boats were set on fire and floated against the Roman vessels, which also were soon on fire. The flames quickly spread, and in a very short time a great part of the Roman fleet was destroyed. Basilicus fled with as many ships as he could save, and returned to Constantinople .

This was the last attempt of the Romans to conquer the Vandals. Genseric lived to a good old age, and when he died, in 477, all the countries he had conquered during his life still remained parts of the Vandal dominions.

Theodoric the Ostrogoth King from 475-526 A.D.


The Ostrogoths, or East Goths , who had settled in Southern Russia , at length pushed southward and westward to the mouth of the Danube .

They were continually invading countries belonging to the Romans and their warlike raids were dreaded by the emperors of the Eastern Roman Empire , who lived at Constantinople . One emperor gave them land and money, and thus stopped their invasions for a time.

The most famous of the Ostrogoth kings was Theodoric (The-od'-or-ic) the Great. He was the son of Theodemir (The-od'-e-mir), who was also a king of the Ostrogoths. When Theodoric was eight years old he was sent to Constantinople to be held as a hostage by Leo, the Emperor of the East. In former times, when kings made treaties with one another, it was customary for one to give to the other a pledge or security that he would fulfill the conditions of the treaty. The pledge usually given was some important person or persons, perhaps the king's son or a number of his chief men. Persons so given as a security were called hostages. When Theodoric was a boy he was given as a hostage for his father's good faith in carrying out a treaty with the Emperor and was sent to Constantinople to live. Here the youth was well treated by Leo. He was educated with great care and trained in all the exercises of war.

Theodemir died in 475, and then Theodoric returned to his own country and became king of the Ostrogoths. At this time he was eighteen years of age. He was handsome and brave and people loved him, for in those days a man who was tall and strong and brave was liked by everybody.


For some years after he became king Theodoric had frequent wars with other Gothic kings and also with the Roman Emperor Zeno (Ze'-no). He was nearly always successful in battle, and at last Zeno began to think it would be better to try to make friends with him. So he gave Theodoric some rich lands and made him commander of the Imperial Guard of Constantinople.

But the Emperor soon became tired of having the Ostrogoth king at his court, and to get rid of him he agreed that Theodoric should go with his army to Italy, and take that country from Odoacer (O-do-a'-cer). Theodoric was delighted at the proposal and began at once to make his preparations.

Odoacer was at that time king of Italy . Before he became king he had been a general in the army of Romulus Augustulus, the Western Roman Emperor. The soldiers of the army were not satisfied with their pay, and when they asked for more they did not get it. Then they drove Romulus Augustulus from the throne, and chose Odoacer to succeed him. But Odoacer would not take the name of emperor. He was called the "patrician" of Italy , and he ruled the country well.

Theodoric started for Italy , not only with a great army, but with all the people of his country. He meant to take Italy and be its king and settle in it with all his Ostrogoths. When he set out he had with him two hundred and fifty thousand persons — men, women, and children — with a great number of horses and wagons to carry them and their things. He had also an army of sixty thousand brave soldiers.

It was a long and weary journey from the shores of the Black Sea overland to the foot of the Alps Mountains and across the Alps into Italy . Here and there on the way they met savage tribes that tried to stop them, but Theodoric defeated the savages and took a great many of them prisoners. He made these prisoners, women as well as men, help carry the baggage and do other work.

The journey took months, but at last the Ostrogoths reached the top of the Alps . Then they could see, stretched out before them, the beautiful land of Italy . They were all delighted. They shouted and danced with joy, and Theodoric cried out: